Lemon Pavlovas with Blackberry Sauce

I have a number of weirdo food quirks:

1. I eat all the crust off a slice of bread first, in a circle, until all that’s left is the center

2. I suck on Cheetos until they’re soggy, then chew and swallow

3. I eat french fries two at a time, and they have to be identical in length. I’ll sort them first, to match each fry with a similar-sized french fry companion, then eat them together

4. I don’t like cold foods touching hot foods

And relatedly:

5. I like to eat desserts one layer at a time

Cake, then frosting. Crust, then pie filling. Whipped cream, then Jell-O. Bars present their own issues, but that’s another story for another, messier day.

Lemon Pavlova with Blackberry Sauce

On the evening I served these ethereal splendors to Mom and Handsome Greg, I took care in sequestering the creamy filling from the cloud of meringue. Yet somehow, a crispy shard of meringue found its way onto my forkful of sweetened mascarpone, stained with blackberry juice.

Clean Plate

How could this have happened? I mean, it’s not like I’d had three glasses of wine, or anything.

Meringue with Lemon Zest

And then a light bulb turned on in my mouth, or maybe in my head. In that one, incredible you-got-your-chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter-no-you-got-your-peanut-butter-in-my-chocolate moment, I finally understood the desire to construct “the perfect bite” of food.

Blackberry

While each element of the recipe – the light, crunchy meringue, the duvet of butter-sweet cheese, and the fresh, tart blackberry sauce – is tasty in its own right, together they are magical.

So what are your food hang-ups?

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brie ice cream with blackberry red wine reduction sauce

I wanted this ice cream to be spectacular. How could it not be? Y’all, I made Brie Ice Cream.

I wanted it to be creamy and decadent, buttery, slightly savory, complex.

And if it couldn’t be a spectacular success, I hoped for a spectacular failure – inedibly salty, thin and watery, a mess of long, stringy brie glops, with an off-putting sweet aftertaste.

Sadly, my brie ice cream was not spectacular at all. The brie flavor was so subtle, it was nearly undetectable. It tasted like extra rich vanilla ice cream, but with an odd, grainy texture. Not inedible, but not company-worthy.

This was supposed to be a great picture, but almost all the yolks broke.

It wasn’t a complete loss, though. The blackberry sauce was delicious — next time I’ll try it drizzled over pound cake and sweetened mascarpone.

Recipe below the fold

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